4648. RESTRICTED IMMEDIATE
Further to my W.90 of 17th September2 you may find useful in discussions on technical assistance programmes the following information regarding measures we are taking here to make fullest possible contribution.
1. Despite pressing Australian needs in regard to development projects, and strong demands on all specialist personnel and training facilities, active work is now going on to provide assistance in accordance with requests received.
2. Special inter-departmental committees have been set up and have considered the Australian programme of technical assistance to the participating countries on the assumption that �A600,000 will be spent during the current financial year, and an average of �A1.45 approximately during the following two years. A special unit in the Department of External Affairs has been created to examine requests for technical assistance and to implement plans for meeting them; other Departments such as the Public Service Board, the Department of Labour and National Service and the Commonwealth Office of Education working directly with the Department of External Affairs have made special arrangements to expedite consideration of requests and the arranging of training facilities and specialist personnel. Other Departments such as Health, Social Services, National Development, C.S.I.R.O. are considering ways by which particular types of assistance may be given.
3. So far only general requests have been received from India and Pakistan, and although these have been considered here and work is being done to provide methods for meeting them where practicable, final offers of assistance cannot be made until specific requests in more detailed form have been received. These will come to us after Standing Committee have visited Delhi and Karachi. However, in meantime we have, for example made an offer to send a geological survey team to Pakistan and are awaiting their reply.
4. All the specific requests so far received from Ceylon are under examination and it is likely that we can meet a reasonable number of them. We expect, for example, shortly to offer services of a fisheries marketing expert, and are actively considering secondment of fisheries research specialist.
5. Following is present position under headings given in my W.90 of 17th September.
(i) Training facilities in Australia
Detailed plans are being worked out for 150 individual fellowship, scholarship and training awards and for several group visits for the first year, rising to a larger number in subsequent years. Your limit to the number of such training awards are set by difficulties of living accommodation. Plans and financial arrangements for providing training facilities in Australia are under consideration.
(ii)Experts, instructors etc. to visit the area
Detailed consideration is being given to specific requests and exploratory work is being done with view to sending experts, for example, in fields of agriculture, engineering, geology, fisheries, education and social services and welfare.
(iii) Training or demonstration equipment
Departments are considering most suitable types of equipment which could be provided e.g. visual aids in education, laboratory, surveying, agricultural, pest-control etc. and a special project is being worked out by Department of Commerce and Agriculture regarding pest-control and other agricultural equipment.
(iv) Grants towards establishing or maintaining or assisting various training on research institutions in the area.
It is expected that this will be an important part of our contribution, together with provision of experts, equipment etc. to assist in developing these institutions. A special proposal from our Department of Commerce and Agriculture for the setting up of experimental and training farms is being considered, but such proposals cannot be brought to fruition until further information is received from the area.
6. In the early stages the responses that we can make are necessarily somewhat slow, in view of the need for more detailed information regarding requirements. As the Standing Committee on the Bureau of Technical Assistance at Colombo gets under way with its preliminary examination of applications, and provides fuller details, it will be possible to expedite the work here.
7. Regarding costs of Standing Committee and of proposed Bureau at Colombo. Treasury have suggested, in line with United Kingdom proposal, that cost of our representatives on Standing Committee and share of cost of the Bureau, should be charged against technical assistance contribution already agreed upon since the Standing Committee are providing a service for the applicant countries for the operation of this scheme and the efficient processing of applications. Treasury suggest that this matter be discussed at present conference.
[NAA: A9879, 2202B]